Anthony Morelli arguably had his best game as a Nittany Lion. Yeah he threw a pick into heavy coverage in the first quarter. But I can live with that level of aggressiveness in the first quarter. Beyond that he had a very good game statistically completing 22-of-32 for 195 yards and 2 TD. He was recognizing the blitzes and hit the hot receiver on several occasions. He even scrambled 12 yards for a first down without fumbling on one play. But then later in the game he had every Penn State fan screaming "Throw it away" in the second half when he did his best Michael Robinson impersonation running around in circles in the backfield before taking a pointless sack.
But what impressed me most was his performance in the fourth quarter. Indiana scored a touchdown to pull within five points. The defense was on the ropes with no answer for the Lewis-Hardy combination. Morelli took the ball at the Penn State 23 and orchestrated a 9 play 77 yard drive going 4-for-4 for 34 yards. The touchdown drive consumed four minutes and left Indiana with four minutes to overcome a 12 point deficit. That was a big time clutch drive unlike any we've seen from the senior quarterback.
It's starting to become apparent that Evan Royster is the better half of the two running back monster that is Rodan Kinster. It's not that Kinlaw did bad. He got 66 yards on 22 carries and scored the late touchdown to ice the game.
But Royster just seems to have more pop when he hits the hole while Kinlaw did too much studder stepping instead of getting positive yards. He finished the day with 68 yards on 12 carries and also scored a touchdown. It's important to note that not one of Royster's carries lost yardage. The only knock on the kid was that he put the ball on the ground twice. That has to stop. But I like the way he carries the ball so I'm not too concerned about that.
The sad part of the day was Matt Hahn tearing his ACL thus ending his Penn State career. Up to that point he was having the game of his life with 43 yards on five carries. He's going to be missed. Tough luck and a sad story.
Another day where nobody has a standout game but when you look at the box score and add it up you see everyone made a contribution.
Jordan Norwood looked like he was going to finish with 20 catches and 300 yards in the early going. He had eight catches for 65 yards in the first half, but then he never saw another ball thrown his way in the second half. What's up with that?
|Where was Norwood in the second half?|
Derrick Williams ended with five catches and 47 yards. Three of those catches went for first downs. Terrell Golden and Deon Butler each finished with four catches.
There were rumors that someone saw Elvis in the stadium, but that was just Chris Bell making a modest five yard catch. I want to know what's going on with this kid. We all heard about his supposed first round draft pick potential and watched him tear it up in the spring game. Where has he been this year?
And where is Andrew Quarless? Penn State had three drives begin and end in the redzone with mere field goals. He's the type of athlete we need down there to punch it in the endzone. Maybe he'll drop a pass or two, but he'll probably catch more than he'll drop. Though I did notice he completely blew a few blocks so he needs to work on that.
|Andrew Quarless and Chris Bell were last seen with this individual. Please alert the authorities if you have any information.|
Overall a pretty good game by the line. They did a good job keeping Morelli upright against the team that led the nation in sacks coming into the contest. But they were inconsisten in opening holes in the running game. On one play they would open up a 15 yard run. Then on the next the running back couldn't get back to the line of scrimmage.
Stefen Wisniewski got his first career start. Pretty impressive for a true freshman. But midway through the game he got pulled and replaced with John Shaw. Hopefully Mike Lucian will return from his concussion this week in time for the Buckeyes.
I thought they came out with a good balanced attack. They opened it up early when Indiana scored right away and it was looking like the defense was struggling. But then near the end of the half it appeared the defense was settling in. After they scored to go up 20-14 just before the half it was like they turned a switch and went conservative. For much of the third quarter they seemed content to grind it out on the ground. Not until Indiana pulled to within five late and it was apparent we had no answer for Hardy did they open it back up and score another touchdown.
In retrospect they were facing a lousy run defense so I can understand their confidence in the running game. But at some point you have to realize it wasn't working like gangbusters against the Hoosiers. It was particularly frustrating to watch the three drives that started inside the redzone. The first drive went run to Kinlaw, run to Kinlaw, incomplete pass, field goal. The second drive went Matt Hahn run, sack, run to Kinlaw, field goal. The third drive went run to Kinlaw, run to Kinlaw, incomplete pass, field goal. Each time the drive started with a run. Two of the three times they came back with a run. Maybe I don't know jack about football, but I always like to see a team drive a dagger in the heart on the first play after a turnover. The defense is coming off the bench and maybe not loose yet. Take a shot at the endzone on first down. But that's just me. The conservative playcalling in the redzone was definitely a factor in the struggles and nearly blew the game by leaving 12 points on the field.
(Pictures from PennLive.com)